8/07/2012

Mekong Restaurant: Greenville, SC


No one needs to hear me say how wonderful this place is nor do they need me to tell them how fresh the food is. With that being said, this is a true experience that everyone needs to put their taste buds through at one point while in Greenville.
London Broil & Brisket – Phở Tái Nạm
Are you ready for about the largest bowl of Phở imaginable for under $7? I sure was and let me just say, the biggest thing that stands out and highlights this dish is the meat. You are being served a gallon size bowl of just about boiling hot broth that was just fired up under a flame the size of the Olympic cauldron and the meat was not over done. Most average bowls of Phở are ruined with the meat becoming dried out and over cooked when added to the boiling broth, but not at Mekong. The beef was like dining at a fine steak house without the price. The amount of meat as well, I have never seen so much meat in a bowl of Phỏ before. It was truly to die for. The Phỏ is served with the typical and new to me fresh from the garden (seriously, fresh from the garden sitting out back) Basil, Jalapenos, lime wedges and sprouts along with mint. It makes sense to serve with fresh mint; this was just new to me. I particularly didn't care for the fresh mint, but my mother, who had the Braised Chuck & Brisket – Phỏ Chín absolutely loved the addition of another fresh item to add to her bowl. We should have known better to get one bowl to share as they will split it for you in the kitchen, but seriously for $6.99 why not try a few different ones.

I will be brutally honest and as much as it sucks to say, the broth itself wasn't the greatest on its own, but that is the nice thing about Phỏ, it doesn't have to be. The broth hardly had any taste to it on its own, but with the addition of all the fresh herbs and vegetables along with a mass amount of sriracha and hoisin sauce, it was the best bowl of Phỏ I have encountered in the South.

Pork Sausage Sandwich – Bánh Mì Nem Nướng - Crusty French bread with cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrot, daikon, and jalapeno.
After reading other reviews from other local food bloggers, I had to try one of the sandwiches or Bánh Mì. For under $4, you get what is pictured above, one of the freshest Bánh Mì sandwiches you will find probably within a 500 mile radius. The spicy pork sausage was packed full of wonderful flavors (and not the typical hard gristle you typically find that chips one of your teeth) and the fresh veggies really helped to make this sandwich shine as a whole. The bread was lightly toasted to the perfect crunch on the outside and whatever kind of sauce they put on it was slightly sweet, but not over bearing and can only be describe in one word, AMAZING! This thing stole the show from the Phỏ and I cannot wait to have another one in the not so distant future.

Bottom line, the restaurant is a little weird when you walk in as you don't know if you should sit down or go to the counter to order, but after you get over that first impression in about 5 seconds and you will feel right at home. The service is by far some of the best you will find at this style of restaurant and the food is the real deal. I see a lot of service related issues in what others are talking about, but we had some great service (it was a Sunday afternoon before the 12:30 church rush arrived). You probably will not find better Vietnamese food anywhere in the Upstate, but if you do, I can guarantee you that the food will not be as fresh.
Mekong Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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